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American Resistance To Empire

Russian Soyuz Rockets Provide Backbone For US Space Program w/Out US-Made Engines

Russia is making more Soyuz spacecraft to help NASA’s ISS missions

NASA warned it might need help for the next year or two.

AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky 

While the US wants to reduce its dependence on Russian rockets, Russia itself is expecting to help for a while yet. Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin recently ordered the construction of two more Soyuz MS spacecraft, one of which will help NASA deliver astronauts to the International Space Station. The decision follows a letter from NASA director Jim Bridenstine warning of a delay in starting American commercial spacecraft flights. The US may need extra seats in 2020 and 2021, Rogozin said, and this extra spacecraft will help in a pinch.

The other Soyuz vessel would be used for a space tourist flight due in late 2021, although this would help free resources for other missions.

Not surprisingly, Russia used the order as a chance to criticize American planning. The country reportedly warned the US that it should have asked for more seats in advance in case its target of a spring 2020 commercial flight didn’t pan out. It takes “at least” two years for Energia to make a Soyuz spacecraft, Rogozin said.

This isn’t necessarily a sign of serious trouble for the US. SpaceX is still hoping for a Crew Dragon trip in early 2020, and Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner might not be far behind. However, the extra construction suggests there may not be a rapid transition toward all-American launches — the two countries might have to cooperate for a while yet.

Source: TASS

Al-Baghdadi was US ‘spawn

Earlier, Syrian President Bashar Assad also expressed his doubts about the fate of the notorious terrorist and said that Washington could recreate him “under a different name, as a different individual,” also suggesting the Americans could reproduce “ISIS in its entirety,” possibly “under a different name but with the same thought and the same purpose.”

Al-Baghdadi was US ‘spawn’, his death is still an open question – Lavrov

Al-Baghdadi was US ‘spawn’, his death is still an open question – Lavrov

Russia still cannot verify Washington’s claims about the elimination of the Islamic State leader, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, adding that the US facilitated the rise of the group in the first place.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the (now former) leader of the notorious terrorist group Islamic State  (IS, formerly ISIS) “is or was if he is really dead a spawn of the United States,” the minister told the Russian Rossiya 24 broadcaster.

“ISIS as such came into existence in the wake of the US illegal invasion of Iraq, the collapse of the Iraqi state and the release of extremists that Americans previously kept in prisons there…”

So, to a certain degree, the Americans have now eliminated their own spawn, if it did happen.

ALSO ON RT.COMUS smuggles crude worth $30mn per month from occupied Syrian oil fields, violating its own sanctions – Russian Foreign Ministry

Lavrov also said that the Russian military still do not have enough information to confirm with confidence that the self-proclaimed ‘Caliph’ is indeed dead. “We want to get additional information,” he said.

It was all stated triumphantly and jubilantly. Yet, our military still study the issue and … cannot confirm many US statements so far.

US President Donald Trump pompously announced American special forces neutralized the terrorist leader in “a daring night-time raid” in northwest Syria, yet, his statement was met with skepticism by many. While the Pentagon released drone footage of the raid, it offered little proof regarding the terrorist leader’s demise itself. His mutilated body, found under the rubble of a collapsed tunnel, was allegedly buried at sea, but evidence for this assertion, too, essentially remains classified.

READ MORE: Pentagon declassifies al-Baghdadi raid VIDEO & DETAILS, confirms ISIS leader’s mutilated body buried at sea

 

ALSO ON RT.COM‘Americans will RESPAWN al-Baghdadi’: Assad casts doubt on ISIS leader’s death, draws parallels with Bin Laden’s killing

Russian FM Lavrov Denounces US Oil Grab In Syria As ‘Arrogant and Illegal’:

[SEE: EXCLUSIVE: U.S. HAS PLAN TO SEND TANKS AND TROOPS TO ‘SECURE’ SYRIA OIL FIELDS AMID WITHDRAWAL]

‘Arrogant & illegal’: Lavrov denounces US military’s oil moves in Syria at Russian-Turkish-Iranian press event

‘Arrogant & illegal’: Lavrov denounces US military’s oil moves in Syria at Russian-Turkish-Iranian press event

The US was “arrogant” to send its troops to guard oilfields in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said, adding that it remains unclear from whom the installations need to be protected.

The actions of the Americans in Syria violate international law, as their presence in the country is “illegal,” Lavrov reiterated, appearing alongside his Iranian and Turkish counterparts at a press-conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

The statement that this [US] presence is needed to protect the oil riches of Syria is arrogant. It turns out that they are being protected from Syria itself.

Washington’s claims that oilfields needed protection from the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group were just a pretext to backtrack on the withdrawal of the US troops from Syria, which had earlier been announced by Donald Trump.

Such a statement sounds especially confusing as “back in March, the US already announced that Islamic State is defeated, crushed,” he reminded the attendance in Geneva.

ALSO ON RT.COMRussian MoD says US protects oil smugglers in Syria, offers aerial images as proof

 

Lavrov, Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu, and Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif got together to discuss the official launch of the Syrian Constitutional Committee to take place in Geneva on Wednesday.

Another pressing issue on the agenda was the ceasefire in northern Syria, which was negotiated by Russia and Turkey in Sochi last week, but was due to expire later on Tuesday.

Cavusoglu warned that any Kurdish units, whom Ankara views as terrorists, remaining in the “safe zone” on the Turkish-Syrian border after the truce ends will be eliminated. However, he pointed out that Turkey trusts Moscow when it said that the Kurds have left the area, per the agreement.

“One in 104 Septillion” Certainty That We Killed the Guy Who Owned The Dirty Underwear

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: US releases video of deadly raid on Isil leader’s Syria compound – watch

The Pentagon has released the first images from the raid that led to the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, showing US forces obliterating resistance.

Video showed American special forces came under fire as they approached the building, and a helicopter took out the gunmen from the air.

Another video showed US Delta Force operators advancing on the compound across open ground.

A third film showed a missile strike that flattened the compound following the raid in north-west Syria at the weekend.

There were also before-and-after photographs, and a senior military official said the compound now resembled a “parking lot.”

Late Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is seen in an undated picture released by the U.S. Department of Defense
Late Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is seen in an undated picture released by the U.S. Department of Defense CREDIT: REUTERS 

General Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, said “fighters from two locations in the vicinity of the compound began firing on US aircraft participating in the assault” before they were destroyed.

He said four men and two women were killed by US forces inside the compound. Two children who were taken into a tunnel by Baghdadi as he fled were “under the age of 12,” he said.

General McKenzie said Baghdadi may have fired, or attempted to fire a weapon at US forces from the tunnel before detonating a suicide vest, killing himself and the two children.

missile
Footage from a drone after a missile strike on the compound CREDIT: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE 

“He crawled into a hole with two small children and blew himself up while his people stayed on the ground,” the general said. He could not confirm Donald Trump’s suggestion that Baghdadi was “whimpering and crying” in the moments before he died.

He also gave further details about a dog injured while chasing Baghdadi down the tunnel. The dog was hurt after encountering live wires in the passageway. It has completely recovered.

Dog
General Kenneth McKenzie gives details of the injured military dog CREDIT: GETTY 

The animal is a four-year veteran of military service and has been involved in more than 50 combat missions, the general said.

General McKenzie said a DNA test showed “beyond a shadow of a doubt” that the dead man in the tunnel was Baghdadi.

It produced a “level of certainty that the remains belonged to Baghdadi of one in 104 septillion.”

Central Command confirmed Baghdadi was buried at sea.

Iraqi Shiite Radical, Muqtada al-Sadr, Drives Government Out

Iraqi Prime Minister’s main backers agree to oust him amid violent protests

Sadr joins protests in Iraq’s Najaf, vows to unseat government

Lawk Ghafuri

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr joined protesters in Iraq’s holy city of Najaf on Tuesday, warning he plans to join forces with the a rival parliamentary bloc to unseat the government of Adil Abdul-Mahdi.

The influential cleric’s comments come as protests continue across Iraq, leading to widespread violence and fatalities.

Sadr has already withdrawn his backing for the government in the wake of the protests and has called for fresh elections. He accused Iraq’s top politicians of being under the influence of foreign powers – particularly arch rivals Iran and the United States.

In a sign of shifting political allegiances to come, Sadr held out an offer of cooperation with Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Iraqi parliament’s powerful al-Fatih bloc.

His tweet came in response to Abdul-Mahdi’s letter on Tuesday in which the Iraqi PM asked Sadr to cooperate with Amiri if he wants the PM to resign.

“I ask brother Hadi al-Amiri for cooperation in order to withdraw trust from you,” Sadr told Abdul-Mahdi in his tweet. “As we will also work on modifying the constitution and changing the Iraqi High Electoral Commission and its regulations.”

Sadr is head of the Sayirun alliance, the largest bloc in the Iraqi parliament. He is also head of the Saraya al-Salam militia, which is part of Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) umbrella, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic.

In his letter to Sadr, Abdul-Mahdi goaded the Sayirun leader “to meet al-Amiri and decide on forming the new government in order for me to resign”.

“I can’t go in front of the parliament and hand over my resignation to the parliament, as other steps need to be considered according to the Iraqi constitution,” he added.

In order to hold snap elections, the president of Iraq has to approve an official request from Iraqi PM to dissolve the parliament, and parliament must vote on its own dissolution, according to article 64 of the Iraqi constitution.

In yet another attempt to quell the protests, Abdul-Mahdi announced a further package of reforms on Tuesday evening concerning garbage collection, sanitation, and flood-prevention – far removed from the demands of the protesters.

At least 74 people have been killed since the protests resumed on Friday, according to the most recent figures from the Human Rights Commission.

Footage submitted to Rudaw English depicts violent clashes between protesters and security forces in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on Monday night, October 28, 2019. Credit: submitted 

A wave of unrest spilled over southern Iraq earlier this month as Iraqis took to the streets to demand action on unemployment, poor services, and rampant corruption. At least 157 people were killed in the first nine days of the month, according to the United Nations.

Protests resumed on Friday after the Shiite religious observance of Arbaeen – only this time the protesters are demanding is a “revolution” to sweep away the old Islamic parties.

In a statement on Tuesday, the United Nationals Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) condemned the violent repression of demonstrations.

“The special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, condemns in the strongest terms the rising number of deaths and injuries during the demonstrations engulfing many parts of Iraq,” UNAMI said.

Hennis-Plasschaert reminded the Iraqi government that “violence is never the answer” and that “national dialogue is urgently needed to find prompt and meaningful response”.

The UNAMI statement comes after a bloody night in the holy Shiite city of Karbala on Monday, as security forces used live ammunition to disperse protesters, killing dozens and wounding hundreds.

“Witness reports indicate that live fire was used against demonstrators, causing high numbers of casualties,” the statement added.

According to the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights, at least one protester was killed and around 190 wounded.

“One protester died, while 142 security members and 50 protesters wounded in Karbala province on Monday night,” the statement reads. “While 140 protesters detained, but 80 of the detainees released and 60 remained in custody.”

The Associated Press put the figure at 18 killed and hundreds wounded.

Ali al-Bayati, a member of Iraq’s Independent High Human Rights Commission, published an open letter to Iraqi President Barham Salah on Monday claiming a war had broken out in Karbala.

“To his Excellency the President, the guardian of the constitution and the people, you stated today that Iraq will not accept a war between America and Iran. Do you realize that there is a war on our Iraqi soil, not somewhere else, and between its children? It happened in Karbala,” Bayati said in a Facebook post.

He embedded a video appearing to depict masked men, wearing vests and helmets, beating a man in an alley.

Despite the violent response of security forces, the protests are ongoing in several provinces of Iraq.

US Forces Identify “al-Baghdadi” From Dirty Underwear Provided By Alleged “Daughter” of Terrorist Kingpin

“Trump initially promised to release a video of the raid, but the Pentagon later said that it had disposed of al-Baghdadi’s remains at sea and have no plans to share any videos or photos.”‘All we have are Trump’s words’: UN isn’t confirming elimination of IS chief al-Baghdadi

Trump: ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead

A video from the Islamic State group broadcast on April 29 shows its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in an undisclosed location. (Al-Furqan Media/AFP/Getty Images/Al-Furqan Media/Afp Via Getty Im)A video from the Islamic State group broadcast on April 29 shows its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in an undisclosed location. (Al-Furqan Media/AFP/Getty Images/Al-Furqan Media/Afp Via Getty Im)

President Trump on Sunday announced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the elusive Islamic State commander, died during a U.S. military operation in Syria, an important breakthrough more than five years after the militant chief launched a self-proclaimed caliphate that inspired violence worldwide. 

“Last night, the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice,” Trump said in a televised announcement from the White House. “He was a sick and depraved man, and now he’s gone.”

In what the president called a “dangerous and daring” nighttime operation, helicopters inserted a team of American Special Operations troops into a volatile area of northwest Syria, where they began an assault on a militant compound culminating in a retreat by Baghdadi into an underground hideaway. There, in a “dead-end tunnel,” Trump said, the militant leader detonated an explosive vest, killing himself and three of what were believed to be his at least six children.

The high-risk operation brings a dramatic end to a years-long hunt for the man who spearheaded the Islamic State’s transformation from an underground insurgent band to a powerful quasi-state that straddled two countries and spawned copycat movements across several continents.

At its peak, the Islamic State controlled an area the size of Great Britain, boasting a massive military arsenal and a formidable financial base it used to threaten the West and brutalize those under its control. While the group gradually lost territory to U.S.-backed Syrian and Iraqi fighters, officials cautioned that it remains a potent insurgent force, even after Baghdadi’s death.

‘A ruthless killer has been taken off the battlefield:’ U.S. officials react to Baghdadi’s death

Officials said U.S. intelligence had tracked the militant leader, a onetime academic and veteran jihadist who spent a year in a U.S.-run prison in Iraq, to a redoubt in Syria’s Idlib province, a restive area near the border with Turkey that is home to an array of extremist groups. A critical piece of information on Baghdadi’s whereabouts came from a disaffected Islamic State militant who became an informant for the Kurds working with the Americans, according to a U.S. official who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive operation.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), whose troops have fought alongside U.S. forces, indicated that they had provided intelligence for the operation.

“For five months there has been joint intel cooperation on the ground and accurate monitoring, until we achieved a joint operation to kill Abu Bakir al-Bagdadi,” its commander, Gen. Mazloum Abdi, said on Twitter, using an alternate spelling of the terrorist leader’s name.

Trump has been accused of abandoning the Kurds following a decision to pull back most U.S. forces in northern Syria, who had provided a deterrent against Turkish forces threatening an attack from across the border. Officials on Sunday suggested that Baghdadi’s death would not affect plans to curtail, or at least alter, the military mission in Syria.

A senior official from Iraq’s intelligence service, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence, said the arrests and interrogation of people close to Baghdadi also helped yield his location, information that was provided to the Americans.

U.S. intelligence is tracking six Islamic State individuals in the line of succession to Baghdadi, the U.S. official said. It’s as though Baghdadi were the CEO and the six were his “executive VPs,” the official said.

They are dispersed, but U.S. intelligence “generally” knows where they are. The hope is that intelligence gleaned from the material recovered in the raid will help U.S. forces “roll up . . . the leadership cadre” in the coming months.

The ideal time to act is when the leadership ranks are in chaos, as they are now, the official said, and militants’ likely movements or communications provide opportunities to target them.

“We’ll keep picking away,” the official added.

Vice President Pence, speaking to CBS, said he and Trump were first informed on Thursday of the likelihood that Baghdadi would be at the target site, which the United States had been monitoring for some time. The president authorized the mission on Saturday morning.

Officials said that two U.S. service members were lightly wounded in the operation and that additional militants were killed, including two women — identified as Baghdadi’s wives — who were wearing explosive vests.

The raid comes as the United States scrambles to adjust its posture in Syria in the wake of Trump’s declaration earlier this month that he would pull out nearly all of the approximately 1,000 troops in Syria amid a Turkish offensive against Syrian Kurdish troops who have been the Pentagon’s main battlefield partner there. But evolving plans now call for a larger residual force that could mean a substantial ongoing campaign.

It also comes as the president faces impeachment proceedings over his role in withholding military aid to Ukraine and as the campaign for the 2020 presidential election intensifies.

National security adviser Robert O’Brien, speaking to NBC, said it was “a good day for the United States, for our armed forces, and for the president.”

During his remarks, Trump thanked Syrian Kurdish forces and nations including Russia and Turkey.

Senior officials later sought to minimize the significance of Trump’s mention of Russia, saying the United States had a requirement to consult with Moscow, which is an important backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and operates air defense systems in Syria, to ensure the safety of U.S. troops.

Trump described a harrowing operation that involved firefights before and after U.S. personnel, ferried in under the cover of darkness in eight helicopters, touched down in Idlib province. While the intent of the operation had been to capture Baghdadi, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper told CNN, he moved underground when U.S. forces called on him to surrender, where he detonated his device.

Officials said the military had taken DNA samples from Baghdadi’s remains and had quickly conducted visual and DNA tests to determine his identity. Nearly a dozen children were removed from the site, Trump said. It was not clear where they were taken.

“Baghdadi was vicious and violent, and he died in a vicious and violent way, as a coward running and crying,” he said.

Baghdadi’s actions during the operation could not be immediately verified.

A second official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss operational details, said that troops from Delta Force, an elite military unit, conducted the operation from a base in Iraq with support from the CIA and Kurdish forces.

The DNA material needed to identify Baghdadi was voluntarily provided by one of his daughters, the official said.

In his remarks, Trump appeared to relish the opportunity to mark a major foreign policy achievement, reiterating his claims of having single-handedly defeated the Islamic State and making no mention of the Obama administration’s steps to set in motion the campaign that culminated in a series of ground battles that deprived the Islamic State of territory and cash.

Esper, in a separate interview with ABC, praised Trump for making the “bold decision” to authorize the raid and said U.S. forces had rehearsed for several weeks.

Russia immediately cast doubt on the sense of triumph in Washington.

“An increase in the number of direct participants and countries, which have allegedly joined this ‘operation,’ each of them with totally contradictory details, cause well-grounded questions and doubts that it has really been carried out, and that, what’s more, it has been successful,” said the Defense Ministry spokesman, Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, according to the Interfax news agency.

Trump praised his military and intelligence officials for the operation, which he said he watched from the White House Situation Room on Saturday evening — following a round of golf in the afternoon — with Pence, Esper, Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other senior officials. News that Baghdadi was killed — announced as “jackpot,” from the commander on the ground, according to O’Brien — came around 7:15 p.m. Trump issued a tweet two hours later after U.S. helicopters touched down in Iraq, writing, “Something very big has just happened.”

In describing the importance of Baghdadi’s death, Trump named American citizens whose executions by the Islamic State first pulled the United States into a military operation against the group, including James FoleySteven Sotloff and Peter Kassig. Pence said the Pentagon leadership had named the operation after Kayla Mueller, an American who died in Islamic State custody and who U.S. officials have said was repeatedly raped by Baghdadi.

During the group’s extremist reign, many more Iraqis and Syrians were killed or brutalized. Militants also enslaved women and children from Iraq’s Yazidi minority.

The operation served as a reminder of the grim series of events set off by the rise of the Islamic State and the sophisticated global propaganda and recruitment network that enabled. Among the high-profile acts of global violence the group inspired were the 2015 attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif. The group also used its financial and political power to establish foreign affiliates in places such as Libya. The Pentagon continues attacks against Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Although Baghdadi, 48, a native of the Iraqi city of Samarra, was not the first leader of the evolving militant organization that eventually became the Islamic State, he oversaw its rise to global prominence in 2014 as it took advantage of instability and weak governance to roll across Iraq and Syria.

Despite publicly declaring an ambitious extremist vision that same year, Baghdadi remained a distant, reclusive figure even to his supporters. In recent years, he has attempted to usher the organization into a renewed underground phase, urging followers in an audio message last month to attempt to break imprisoned brethren out of jail.

A man inspects the site of helicopter gunfire in Syria’s Idlib province on Sunday. (Omar Haj Kadour/Afp Via Getty Images)
A man inspects the site of helicopter gunfire in Syria’s Idlib province on Sunday. (Omar Haj Kadour/Afp Via Getty Images)

Baghdadi appears at a mosque in Mosul, Iraq, according to a video posted online in 2014. (Reuters)Baghdadi appears at a mosque in Mosul, Iraq, according to a video posted online in 2014. (Reuters)

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), ranking minority-party member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was among the Democrats who paired accolades for a successful operation with a warning about the potential impact of Trump’s larger Syria policy.

Islamic State leader Baghdadi resurfaces, urges supporters to keep up the fight

“The concern of this hasty withdrawal is that we’re going to lose that connectivity with the Kurds in terms of intelligence gathering,” Reed said in an interview. “I think that’s going to be a very significant loss going forward.”

Earlier in the day, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who spoke to reporters at the White House, voiced support for Trump’s decision to back away from a full withdrawal from Syria and said the president had told him of his desire to get Baghdadi.

His death “is a game changer in the war on terror,” Graham said.

Faysal Itani, a scholar at the Atlantic Council, said the Islamic State’s militant activities had not been enabled by any special powers of Baghdadi but by conditions that remain unchanged in Iraq and Syria, suggesting its potential to rise once more.

“ISIS’s success is rooted in state failures, sectarian divides, military and intelligence experience drawn from the Baathist security state it emerged from, and an ideology that is coherent and, for some, compelling,” Itani said, referring to the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein, the former leader of Iraq.

 

Liz Sly in Los Angeles, Souad Mekhennet in Germany, Sarah Dadouch in Beirut, Kareem Fahim in Istanbul, Mustafa Salim in Baghdad and Shane Harris, Joby Warrick and Ellen Nakashima in Washington contributed to this report.

“The Pentagon is making contingencies for a big fight with Russia for Syria’s oil.”

“IS SEIZING THE OIL FIELDS THE ONLY WAY TO SAVE THIS COUNTRY?”

[SEE: Imperial Plan To Use Civil War As Gas and Oil ValveImperial Plan To Use Civil War As Gas and Oil Valve–PART II]


Pentagon planning to send tanks, armored vehicles to Syrian oil fields

Vice President Mike Pence announced Thursday that Turkey has agreed to a cease-fire to allow the Kurdish forces it was battling to safely withdraw from an area in northern Syria. (Oct. 17) AP, AP

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon is preparing to send tanks and armored vehicles to Syrian oil fields, according to a U.S. official – a stunning reversal of President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the war-torn country after he declared victory over ISIS.

The deployment of heavy armor to Syria would represent a significant escalation in the fight, requiring a contingent of additional troops to operate and maintain the vehicles, as well as forces to protect their bases.

Earlier this month, Trump ordered that virtually all of the 1,000 U.S. troops be withdrawn from Syria, a move met with bipartisan condemnation as an abandonment of Kurdish allies in the fight against ISIS.

A Defense Department official said the Pentagon is sending additional forces to northeastern Syria to prevent the oil fields from falling back into the hands of ISIS. Both officials were not authorized to speak publicly.

The move represents an acknowledgement that ISIS remains a threat despite Trump’s declaration that the militant group has been vanquished. Monday, Trump backtracked on his order that all U.S. forces be withdrawn from Syria, saying a “small” number of troops would remain.

“I’m trying to get out of wars. We may have to get in wars, too,” Trump said during a Cabinet meeting Monday.

By Thursday, the Pentagon was planning for a significant escalation.

“Very, very confusing U.S. policy,” said Seth Jones, a national security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Kurdish forces controlled much of northeastern Syria until two weeks ago. After an Oct. 6 phone call between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey invaded Syria, pushing the Kurds south.

Under a U.S.-brokered cease-fire, the Kurdish fighters agreed to retreat deeper into Syria, and Turkey agreed to stop its assault.

Now Russian troops, which are in Syria to bolster the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and Turkish forces are operating in the region previously patrolled by U.S. and Kurdish forces.

Expert: Move aimed at Russia and Syria, not ISIS

Sending Abrams battle tanks and Bradley armored vehicles would mark a new stage in the five-year campaign against ISIS. Newsweek first reported the plans to send armor to the region.

The composition of the additional forces and the type of equipment to be sent to Syria is still being worked out, the U.S. official told USA TODAY. Placing heavily armored vehicles in Syria would require more logistical personnel to support them than the previous force of American commandos needed, the official said.

‘The US has been sidelined’: Turkey and Russia agree to joint patrols in Syria

The deployment of armor is aimed at Russia and Syria, not ISIS, said Nicholas Heras, an expert on Syria with the Center for a New American Security. He said the U.S-led coalition against ISIS had succeeded in keeping oil from the militant group, using a combination of U.S.-led airstrikes and the Syrian Democratic Forces, made up largely of Kurds, on the ground.

“This move would either indicate that the U.S. military believes that it cannot depend on the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) to protect the oil fields, and instead cut a deal with Russia and Assad behind America’s back, or that the U.S. expects Assad and Russia to try to take the oil by force,” Heras said.

“Pure and simple,” he said, “the Pentagon is making contingencies for a big fight with Russia for Syria’s oil.”